There is still “immense confusion” about what you need to travel abroad as Ireland prepares to launch the EU Digital COVID Certificate.
Hundreds of thousands of fully vaccinated people have been receiving their certs by post and email over recent days.
Meanwhile, people who have recovered from COVID in the last 180 days will be able to get a cert by contacting the new dedicated call centre on 1800 851 504.
The centre will fully open from Monday.
People can also travel by sitting a negative COVID test at an approved centre.
Most countries accept an antigen test taken within 28 of travel; however, Ireland demands a PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, travel expert Eoghan Corry said there is still “immense confusion out there over what is required for travel.”
“I mean, it’s the first time travelling for so many people,” he said. “It’s like our first flight again.”
“I think a lot of the complications have probably been a bit overstated. What the Digital COVID Certificate has done is, it has brought together a lot of the scraps of paper into one QR code.
“It is working pretty well right across Europe because it is a couple of Fridays since they introduced this right. I think Romania was a little bit slow in rolling it out but everybody else seems to be doing it quite well.”
Digital COVID Cert
He said passengers officially need the QR code from their Digital COVID cert to travel – but noted that many countries and airlines are still accepting vaccine cards.
“What we do know is anyone through a full course of vaccination who is in possession of that valuable QR code will be able to travel unrestricted,” he said. “That means no tests and no quarantine.”
He noted that many countries also require passengers to fill out a passenger locator form.
“They are not that complicated; they are available online but sometimes people forget about them,” he said.
“They don’t tend to be more complicated than your name and your phone number and what flight you are arriving on in some cases.”
He said travel is not that complicated provided you have the right documents.
It is those people who are too young for vaccination but too old to be exempt from needing the EU cert that is “causing a huge amount of head-scratching and concern” for families.
“The age where a test is not required is six years of age for people coming to Ireland,” he said. “But countries like Spain and Portugal - where 70% of our outbound leisure is going - that would be 12.”
He said it is “really, really important” to remember that unlike most countries in Europe, Ireland requires a negative PCR test from arriving passengers.
He noted that the NHS test is not recognised so people arriving from Britain will have to go to a private company like Boots for a PCR test before travelling.
Meanwhile, NHS vaccine cards are not accepted as part of the EU system; however, the UK has done bilateral deals with a number of European countries so passengers should check whether it is accepted before travel.
You can download the Reopen EU app or visit the website to get full details on the rules in place for individual countries.
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